Court Vision: Timberwolves put an end to the Harlem Shake craze
By Rob Mahoney
• I don’t share in the complete contempt for the Harlem Shake that has cropped up in recent weeks, but I applaud the Timberwolves nonetheless for laying the fad to rest.
• ESPN.com’s Kevin Arnovitz did a terrific interview – separated into two parts — with Blazers GM Neil Olshey at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in which Olshey covers all kinds of analytics-inspired topics. Among them: How does a GM navigate a disagreement between their gut feel for a player and conflicting data?
• Martell Webster and Garrett Temple sang the national anthem before a Special Olympics basketball game over the weekend, and absolutely nailed it.
• The Spurs clearly like what they’ve seen from second-year point guard Cory Joseph during his assignment with the D-League’s Austin Toros, as Gregg Popovich opted to start Joseph in Tony Parker’s absence rather than defer those responsibilities to Manu Ginobili or Nando De Colo. The early returns on that decision are good, but it’s also worth considering if Joseph could be useful to the Spurs throughout the rest of the season.
• Now on Twitter: Former NBA head coach Sam Mitchell.
• The Celtics are missing their star point guard and somehow turning the ball over far less than usual. From Brian Robb of CelticsHub:
Once [Rajon] Rondo went down with a torn ACL during the last week of January, the masses (including some of us here at the Hub) started to worry even more: Who would handle the ball? How would the C’s handle ball pressure by opposing teams? Their turnovers would surely go way up without their All-Star point guard … right?
Instead, the opposite has happened. The C’s are taking better care of the ball than ever, which leads us to an important question … was Rondo the C’s biggest turnover problem?
The short answer is yes — yes he was. Outside of Pablo Prigoni and Earl Watson, Rondo had the highest turnover rate for any rotation point guard in the NBA this year, giving the ball away to the opposition a whopping 22.6 times per 100 possessions. For some perspective, other elite point guards generally have turnover rates in the low teens or even single digits. They value the ball while Rondo didn’t show the ability or inclination to do the same.
• Andrew Han of ClipperBlog looks forward to seeing how the Clips might interact with the cap and luxury tax lines this summer, as even a re-signed Chris Paul would give L.A. just seven players under contract and relatively little wiggle room to fill out its roster.
• A great, video-laden look from Couper Moorhead of Heat.com on how the Knicks stretch out opposing defenses by overloading the high side of the three-point arc, and how the Heat effectively countered that strategy on Sunday to close out a tight game.
• Once a team’s chances of making the playoffs dwindle to zero, the remainder of its season is often treated as a formality. But Grantland’s Zach Lowe offers a look at what the worst teams in the league still have to play for this season, including this laundry list of items for the Bobcats:
Some other quick-hitting specifics to watch: Can Kemba Walker solidify his emergence as an efficient scoring point guard on offense and improve defensively? Can Kidd-Gilchrist rebound on offense and cut his fouling on defense after smashing into the rookie wall? Can Bismack Biyombo, still (allegedly) so young, show glimpses of NBA-level offensive skill? Charlotte also has to decide if there’s any reason, save for the pain of a sunk cost, in delaying the amnesty trigger on Tyrus Thomas, and whether Gerald Henderson is a core piece. Henderson’s a useful two-way player who has shown improved 3-point accuracy on a higher volume of attempts, but he’s about to get overpaid in a market oversaturated with cap space. Charlotte tried to deal him for a future first-round pick at the deadline but came up empty.
• After a drawn-out process and the threat of legal action, former NBA player Robert Swift has finally vacated his foreclosed home. When the new owners were finally able to check out the place, they found heaps of food waste, scattered weapons, holes that had been punched in the walls and a deck covered in dog feces. There’s no place for a punchline here; Swift vanished off the property, but left behind plenty of questions about the life he’s been living since falling out of the league.